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Onyx Specialty Papers


December 2009 :  MeadWestvaco sells Specialty Paper business, which becomes Onyx Specialty Papers, Inc.

2019:  Entering our second decade as Onyx Specialty Papers, Inc.; we have come so far since our company launched in 2009. Our focus is clear and unwavering – to consistently provide high quality products and outstanding service to our customers.



2002:  The Mead Corporation merged with the Westvaco Corporation, achieving a leading position in the marketplace for value-added, high-quality products.




1956:  Decision was made to expand Hurlbut Papers by building another mill about 1 mile down the road – Laurel Mill.

1958:  Hurlbut Paper became part of the Mead Corporation.

1964:  The Mead Corporation purchased the Morart-Gravure printing plant located in Holyoke, MA.  By 1967, the plant was relocated to South Lee, next to the Laurel Mill.  The printing plant and two mills turned all of their attention to producing paper used for decorative countertops and furniture.

In the Beginning


1806:  Samuel Church built a paper mill on the north bank of the Housatonic River, which produced 200 pounds of handmade paper a day.  Producing book, bond and letter, note papers.

1822:  Charles Owen and Thomas Hurlbut assumed ownership and management of Church’s mill. Together, they set their sights on winning a reputation for being manufacturers of the finest paper in America.

1836:  Enlarged and re-equipped the mill with their first stack of calenders and a ruling machine.  The mill later became known as Hurlbut Paper Company.

1848:  The railroad reaches South Lee adding another mode of transportation other than stage coach and oxen teams.

The Middle Years


Early 1860’s:  Thomas Hurlbut’s two sons assumed ownership of the Hurlbut Mill.

1872:  The brothers embarked on a bold expansion and modernization that made the mill “one of the largest in the country”.

1883:  Fire engulfed the mill and completely destroyed the building.  But with determination and dedication was rebuilt on the same site.

1899:  The Hurlbut Paper Company became an operating unit of the American Writing Paper Company, Inc.

1927:  Paul Zuhlke purchases the mill and returns to an independently owned enterprise, and started producing photographic paper.

1936 – 1940:  Hurlbut saturating papers were introduced to the plastics industry.  Gone now are the book, bond and ledger papers.

1950’s:  Saturating papers became the bulk of the production of the Hurlbut mills.